BATON ROUGE, La. -- Because of his many pre-snap responsibilities, the center essentially serves as the quarterback of the offensive line.
At LSU, the youngest player on the starting offensive line -- redshirt freshman William Clapp -- will handle those responsibilities. That leadership role is simply part of playing Clapp's position, even if he has junior guards Ethan Pocic and Josh Boutte on either side of him and elder statesmen Jerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander at tackle.
"It is my role to make all the calls on the offensive line, whether identifying the mike [middle linebacker], making a protection call or identifying who I'm working to and telling everybody else where to go," Clapp said after Saturday morning’s practice. "So yeah, it mainly is my responsibility."
That doesn't mean he does it perfectly every time. Clapp hasn't played in a college game yet, after all. But Clapp says he has felt comfortable making the line calls since early last season once center became his primary position. And he is surrounded by plenty of veterans -- including Pocic, who started several games at center last fall -- who can offer an assist if he gets something wrong.
"For the most part, if I ever make a call and it's not right, they'll tell me, 'Hey, hey, we’re going to go here,' and I said, 'All right,' " Clapp said. "So they're definitely helpful with that, but for the most part, it's just making the calls and it's been going pretty smoothly."
What's not so smooth is Clapp's haircut. For the second straight preseason camp, he's sporting a mohawk -- the result of a dare from his father, Tommy, who was a defensive lineman and captain on LSU's 1987 team.
"He dared me to do it my freshman year and he didn't think I'd do it, so I did it and just decided to keep doing it," Clapp said. "It's something fun for camp."
A bigger Harris
The offseason buzz at LSU had sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris adding some much-needed weight. While observing practice, it's immediately clear that he has done so.
LSU's 2014 roster listed then-freshman Harris at 183 pounds. The Tigers' most recent preseason roster lists him at 206. Harris' passing velocity was already impressive as a wiry kid straight out of high school, so tight end Dillon Gordon said he hasn't detected much of a change in that department -- even after the young quarterback added size to his frame.
"I think he's just more sharp," Gordon said. "He's sharper with his throws and knowing where he needs to go with the ball."
Nonetheless, Harris' thicker build might help him hold up better against the rigors of SEC football.
Here is a video of quarterbacks Anthony Jennings (10) and the bulked-up Harris (6) practicing drops and taking snaps in Saturday morning’s practice.
Some position drills video Here are some quick videos from LSU's morning practice featuring new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron. Here is Steele working with some of his linebackers. You'll notice senior outside linebacker Lamar Louis (11) is still in a green non-contact jersey, meaning his practice work is limited. Louis said on Thursday that he strained a pectoral muscle during summer workouts and should be back to full strength soon.
Here is Orgeron with defensive ends Tashawn Bower (46) and Arden Key (49) and tackle Frank Herron (97).
Key and fellow freshman Isaiah Washington continue to work with the veterans in the Tigers' split practices, while most of their signing class practices with the reserves in the afternoon. Here are Washington (94), Key and Lewis Neal (92) working in a pass rush drill with Orgeron on Saturday morning.